Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market tower, May 2012
|Address||675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE|
|Town or city||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Renovated||currently under renovation|
|Other dimensions||2.1 million sq. ft. (approx.)|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Nimmons, Carr and Wright, Architects (Chicago)|
Ponce City Market is a historic building in Atlanta, located where the BeltLine crosses Ponce de Leon Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward where that neighborhood touches the Virginia Highland, Poncey-Highland and Midtown neighborhoods. The 2,100,000-square-foot (200,000 m2) building, one of the largest by volume in the Southeast United States, was used by Sears, Roebuck and Co. from 1926–1987 and later by the City of Atlanta as "City Hall East". The building's lot is 16 acres (65,000 m2) large.
The City sold the property for $27 million to Jamestown, Jamestown, a private-equity group, on July 11, 2011. Jamestown, which also invested in the redevelopment of the White Provision retail and restaurant complex in West Midtown, is bankrolling 180-million-dollar plans by developer Green Street Properties to convert it into a mixed-use development with national and local retail anchors, restaurants, boutiques and offices, and residential. In a July 2011 interview, Michael Phillips, managing director of Jamestown, said that Jamestown is focused on Ponce City Market becoming the fourth nationally relevant food hall in the U.S., alongside Pike Place in Seattle, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and Jamestown's own Chelsea Market in New York. Jamestown also plans rooftop gardens where local restaurants can grow food. Jamestown plans to complete renovations by early 2014 and then have the building added to the National Register of Historic Places.
It is hoped that the new development, along with the new adjacent BeltLine trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park, will stitch together the four neighborhoods that meet where it is located and revitalize the Ponce de Leon Avenue corridor.
- From 1926 to 1979 it was a Sears, Roebuck and Co. retail store, warehouse and regional office The Atlanta regional headquarters was closely linked to Sears' efforts to capture the market of Southern farmers through the Sears Agricultural Foundation:
- From August 1926 until October 1928, the Foundation hosted a radio show, broadcast from the Atlanta Sears tower called “Dinner Bell R.F.D.”. R.F.D. stood for the club "Radio Farmers' Democracy. The show aired on WSB radio between noon and 1 pm three times a week, featuring old-time musicians and string bands
- Sears held a farmer's market at the back of the property starting in May 1930 through New Year's Day 1947
- In 1939, the market hosted the First Georgia Clay Products Show, which garnered an audience of 5,000
- The market established partnerships with local 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers of America clubs
- In 1979 the retail store closed but the building continue operating as a Sears regional office until 1987.
- In May 1990 the city of Atlanta bought the building for $12 million, with plans to place 2,000 police and fire employees there, and later rent space out to county, state, and federal agencies. The city subsequently moved the central offices of its police department and fire department into the building. A city-funded art gallery was also established on the first floor.
- From 1995 to 1999 the Southeastern Flower Show was held here.
- The building was closed to the public on March 29, 2010 and remains closed pending development by Jamestown.
- In August 2012 a coffee house, Dancing Goats, opened in a temporary location at the southwest corner of the site in the renovated Sears auto service center building, which also houses the Jamestown offices.
The building is currently undergoing renovation with funding by Jamestown, designed by local Atlanta architecture firms Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein and Stevens & Wilkinson
- Old pictures of the Sears building
- "Largest Building in the South Opens on Ponce de Leon Avenue" "This Day in History" series, PBA (Public Broadcasting Atlanta) Online, orig. broadcast August 2, 2011
- Jerry R. Hancock, Jr., Dixie Progress: Sears, Roebuck & Co. and How it became an Icon in Southern Culture, Georgia State University - Photos of Sears Farmers' Market 1931 (see p. 61)
- "Living History" - video remembrances of the historic building by local residents
- Robbie Brown, "Ambitious Plans for a Building Where Sears Served Atlanta", New York Times, August 16, 2011
- "The lost world of City Hall East: the mysteries inside Atlanta’s largest abandoned building", Creative Loafing, April 19, 2010 - slideshow of pictures inside the City Hall East of April 2010
- Nick Kahler, "Ponce City: An Arcological Hierapolis for the Fountain of Youth," GA Tech Masters in Architecture Thesis, Spring 2012: A Theoretical Architectural Proposal for the Redevelopment of the Sears Building as a City within the City of Atlanta
- "Mayor Signs Closing Documents on Sale of City Hall East", pbaonline, July 1, 2011
- "Slideshow: Jamestown reveals Ponce City Market", Atlanta Business Journal, June 29, 2011
- "Jamestown’s Michael Phillips on Ponce City Market", ATL Food Chatter (Atlanta magazine blog), July 18, 2011
- "Landmark Sears building still faces hurdles", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 1, 2010
- Ken Edelstein, "Green Street, Jamestown hope to close City Hall East deal this month", Green Building Chronicle, 2011-03-03
- "Timeline: Old Sears building, once a boom, then a bust", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 1, 2010
- Jerry R. Hancock, Jr., Dixie Progress: Sears, Roebuck & Co. and How it became an Icon in Southern Culture, Georgia State University
- "National Notebook: Atlanta; Sears Center bought by city", The New York Times, June 2, 1991
- "Ponce City Market to welcome first tenant", Atlanta Business Chronicle, Amy Wenk, August 9, 2012